Yuri: Anime: Mai Otome

November 24th, 2005

Mai Otome is not so much a sequel to Mai Hime as it is a fanfic written by the folks who originated the thing in the first place.

Right off the top, Mai Otome is pleasantly free of the “tears and misery” theme of the original. Instead it’s a fantasy world alternate universe, in which all the same characters show up, more or less, but in some cases, completely altered in personality and almost always altered in role.

The story focuses primarily on three girls:

Arika, a familyless, countryless girl who only knows that her mother was an “Otome” (this world’s Valkyrie-esque female warrior-types) and that the blue stone around her neck is from her mother. Arika, by not having any country or family allegiance is refreshingly free of formal manners, without being a bumpkin.

Nina, The adopted, over-achieving, emotionally crippled star of the school who is Arika’s immediate rival.

Mashiro, the spoiled and willful Queen of Windbloom. In Mai Hime, Mashiro was a gentle, kind and tortured girl who ran the school. In this series she’s a raving brat who runs a country. Nice, huh?

Arika is accepted to Garderobe, an exclusive academy in which Otome hopefuls train. Countries send their fair youth in hopes that they will become Otome, and give the country parity in military might to those who do have Otome. (Otome are super-powerful and excessively cool, despite having silly costumes.)

There’s lots of hints about the past and about connections of all three girls to big secrets and yadda yadda, but I don’t care much. (Partially because Mai Hime‘s ending sucked so badly that I refuse to care about this until it proves that it doesn’t suck.) But I do care about the Yuri. So let’s talk about that. ^_^

Right off, Natsuki tells Arika that Otome can’t have sex with men, because PSA and testosterone destroy the nanowhatever that gives a girl her Otome powers. Oh, really? So…hmmm…guess they have to learn to love the women they serve. And speaking of serving…

Shizuru is still cool. Certainly more mysterious, and definitely kick-ass. She is the Otome for Shinzo, the heart of Gaderobe Academy, one Kuga Natsuki. As one of the Five Pillars Shizuru has to stay close to her Master. This means she has to stick pretty close to Natsuki. How close we aren’t yet sure, but they certainly seem comfortable in each other’s company this time around.

Chie’s yuri playboy cool rating was upped by about 2000x. And her one wink at Aoi is enough hint for most fanfic authors. Aoi is Mashiro’s maidservant this time around.

Haruka and Yukino both did well in transition to the new series. Haruka is a quite excellent Otome serving the President of whatever country…yup, you guessed it. Yukino’s organizational skills and detante finally aren’t played for laughs. Haruka’s no less nutsy than she was originally, but in a fun, powerful, and really competent way. (A very sexy quality in a woman, I always think.)

Yuri fanservice is plentiful – the older “Pearl Class” Otome in training are assigned younger “Coral Class” students as attendants. Chie isn’t above making them blush cutely. Nor is Shizuru avoiding physical contact with the girls either. She must grab one often enough to cause Natsuki to roll her eyes when she does it to Arika.

When an invisible tentacle eel-monster-thing invades the pool, she thinks (bizarrely) that Nina is copping a feel. (Nina’s reaction is, btw, perfect – she tests Erstin’s head for a fever…) Erstin tells Nina, quite unnecessarily, that they are both girls – but she qualifies this by saying that if it’s Nina, it’s okay. Later she gives Nina a form of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation that is definitely NOT approved by the Red Cross.

Ratings:
Art – 6
Story – 8
Character – 8
Music – 7
Yuri – 6
Service – 8

Overall – 7

In short, pretty, shiny fun with a 40% chance of “good.”

 

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6 Responses

  1. Heh yeah. I mostly agree with everything you’ve said here, as we discussed in channel. But I’d like to remind you that Mai-HiME was a VERY slow starter as well, and I wouldn’t hang it up quite yet. At least, I’m hanging some hopes that they didn’t just keep the 6-year-olds on from the last 2 episodes of HiME to write this entire season… -_-;

  2. itanshi says:

    heh just pointing out that natsuki is an otome meister as well

    and meisters have no masters so when they work under someone or each other, its out of free will ^^

    i love both series, but then again, i love being messed with and the characters rock. laters.

  3. punistation says:

    Me, I’m staying away from this one on the sole basis that Shizuru becomes a “grope all the loli’s” sexpot, making Natsuki jealous for reasons unknown.

    … and I had NO idea this was an “alternate world” thing. I thought it was a direct sequel. Now there’s a reason for the above happenning, but still… meh.

  4. Steve says:

    An LFB rating of 8? That’s pretty damn high. I don’t see what MO’s done to deser…

    *remembers the tentacle monster*

    Oh yeah. Sorry, forget I spoke. Here’s hoping (probably in vain) that Sunrise got most of their fanservice needs out of their system with Episode 6…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I thought episode 7 was quite nice though, very good interaction between Mashiro and Arika, a pairing I would have laughed of before I saw ep7.

  6. Serge says:

    Here’s hoping (probably in vain) that Sunrise got most of their fanservice needs out of their system with Episode 6…

    Having just seen the preview for Ep.9: nope, they didn’t.

    LFB of 8 is spot on. Sunrise knows their audience and is not above shamelessly pandering to them. Though I wonder sometimes if tongue is firmly in cheek when they do it.

    Me, I’m staying away from this one on the sole basis that Shizuru becomes a “grope all the loli’s” sexpot, making Natsuki jealous for reasons unknown.

    Aside from Arika in the two episodes so far, Shizuru doesn’t seem hang around the Corals all that much, she stays mostly by Natsuki’s side. Though it appears that there are some among the Corals, Tomoe , who might not mind if Shizuru were a “grope the lolis sexpot.”

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